Swinging into the season


Brooke Salamone

Baseball season is in full swing as of March 28, and just in time for the recent warmer temperatures. With the city’s two popular teams, the Yankees and the Mets, there is an abundance of history to appreciate as this year’s season begins. In honor of the season kickoff, let’s take a look back at the origins of these teams, and how they forever shaped the culture of sports in New York.

On March 12, 1903, a Baltimore franchise team, which was purchased and moved to New York by Frank Farrell and Bill Devery, was approved as a member of the America League. This team, originally named ‘The Highlanders,’ had no idea the legacy they were about to leave create. With a home base in an all-wood park at 168th Street and Broadway, the games began. In April 1913, the team was renamed, gaining the iconic title, “The New York Yankees.”

Perhaps one of the most famous individuals to come out of the Yankee Bullpen was Babe Ruth. Ruth was traded from the Boston Red Sox on Jan. 3, 1920. Ruth, since that day forward, forever became a staple of the Yankees. In his career, he hit a total of 714 home runs and had his number retired at Yankee Stadium’s 25th Anniversary celebration in 1948. Ruth died a few months later from throat cancer at age 53. In addition to his accomplishments, Ruth was named the greatest baseball player of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated.

Babe Ruth in 1922. Source: Wikimedia.
Babe Ruth in 1922. Source: Wikimedia.

From 1903 to 2018, the Yankees have won a total of 27 World Series, their most recent in 2009. Some notable players throughout the years besides Ruth are Derek Jeter, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Mariano Rivera, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, Alex Rodriguez, and many more. Today, rookie Aaron Judge is leading the pack as one of the star faces of the team.

The Yankees have since left a legacy on New York that will never be forgotten. While the Yankees may have been the first team in Manhattan, they are not the only team in the concrete jungle today.

In 1962, the next baseball team to grace Manhattan was introduced. The Mets joined as part of the National League’s expansion in the 20th century. The Mets have won two total World Series’ since they were established.

Their first official World Series appearance (and win) was in October 1969 where they defeated the Baltimore Orioles. Their second World Series win was in October 1986 against the Red Sox.

In the history of the Mets, Tom Seaver is arguably one of the most prominent players to come out of the bullpen. Seaver’s career with the Mets spanned over 10 years, from 1967–1977. The star pitcher was chosen to play in 12 All-Star games and also played for the White Sox, Red Sox, and the Reds.

Seaver left an undeniable mark on the history of the Mets. In fact, on July 24, 1988, Seaver’s number, 41, was retired. He is one of only three Mets players to have their number retired­­­—the other two are Casey Stengel and Mike Piazza. In 1992, Seaver was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Seaver has also been in recent news, with an announcement that shared he will be stepping away from the public life, due to worsening dementia.

Tom Seaver at Shea Stadium. Source: Wikimedia.
Tom Seaver at Shea Stadium. Source: Wikimedia.

Some notable players throughout the years for the Mets, other than Seaver and Piazza, are David Wright, Dwight Gooden, Gary Carter, and José Reyes.

With both teams located in the area, University students are just a subway ride away from the excitement of endless stadium snacks and fan favorite players. Students had a lot to say about the start of the season.

“Baseball season is the best time of year,” shares sophomore Gene Casazza. “There is nothing like waiting for pitchers and catchers to report, and spring training. Watching the players run out of the dugout on opening day makes me teary-eyed.”

Emma Note, University sophomore, feels similarly. She says, “I think the start of baseball season is less important than any other part of the season, but cannot be taken lightly. Baseball season is long and every game counts, so racking up lots of wins early can really help a team in the long run.”

With two home teams come rivalries between fans, and even University students get in on the friendly competition.

“I prefer the Yankees because of the legacy,” Note emphasizes. “I think the history the Yankees have within NYC is something so special and unique in any sports team let alone in NYC. The Yankees are also my family’s favorite baseball team, so there is an emotional element to my support.”

Casazza had a different opinion.

“I support the Mets because my grandparents were Mets fans, and I followed in their footsteps.”

For students who are interested in going to a baseball game, check out the University’s discounted ticket website for available seats, or check online for cheap seats in the early season.